Artist Review: Steven Blane

Review by: Justyn Brodsky

Artists like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Jay-Z have contributed iconic songs on behalf of their love for New York City, but when I was contacted by Rabbi and founder of Sim Shalom, the world’s only online Jewish Universalist synagogue and singer-songwriter Steven Blane, I didn’t know what surprises he had in store. If his intention was to give me something just as iconic as the artists mentioned in my first sentence, then he succeeded quite nicely. 

Steven Blane‘s LP of Jazzy, Swingish, and Bluesy collection of tracks titled The Best of Steven Blane (So Far) is a treat for the New Yorker’s soul in ways that almost can’t be fully described. It’s just that feeling; that feeling. A feeling that also leaves a presence within you. Whether it’s walking to the Union Square train station on a Fall, breezy evening or simply sipping some wine in one of the Village bars or Tap Rooms, Blane delivers you that same iconic sound in the league of artists that could be comprised of Sinatra, Bennett, and a riffy Johnny Cash vibe as well.

His song “I Love My NYC” is definitely Blane‘s calling to one of New York’s many city-inspired and tributed songs to the lifestyle, streetlights, and surroundings of New York’s finer moments. And it’s played and performed with that delicacy in a way where you can feel the atmosphere of the city in the song itself. Blane‘s clean, and articulately mid-ranged vocal approach is definitely a huge impact on this song’s overall signature sound. The lyrics are clever, and have great narratives that grasp you into them. It’s an attention-grabber and weaves a fabric into the city’s aura and feeling. His song “Happy New Year” also brings out this same soul behind the voice and writing style that Blane brings to the table.

Every song on this album has a smooth, eclectic, and soothing sensibility…no matter where you come from. He has a sound that has class, dynamic musicianship, and innovative measures that are always present throughout every track. The sound is versatile and diverse. And once you take a listen to Steven Blane yourself, he’ll find his way to your heart unconditionally. Whether you expect it or not.

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Artist Review: J. Knight

Review by: Justyn Brodsky & Chris Barbosa

Now this Artist reached out to me and…just, wow. A solo artist that isn’t rapping or singing Bieber-Pop? The second J. Knight‘s new single “Living For the Memories (Here & Now)” started playing, I already knew I was in for a very special treat.

Hearing awesome Rock/Pop/Punk influences like Goldfinger, Allister, and the early Drive-Thru Records era is something to really behold nowadays, especially from a solo artist that wants to sing well-written, loud, catchy, guitar-riffy songs without EDM theatrics or auto-tune.

This song just jams, and jams hard. It starts you off with an awesome guitar progression with tasty octave chords to set the tone for what’s to come for the vocal melodies, and the tones are very well EQed with solid tone and powerful gain, leaving you with some riffage that’s bound to stick in your head relentlessly.

J. Knight, from B-Lo (Buffalo, NY) has a very natural vocal style that perfectly solidifies this song’s direction; his range is perfect for this genre, and the clean, well-polished vocals gives this single the perfect overall signature sound. His dueling vocals in the verses add a very charismatic touch and gets you even more captivated by this song’s chemistry and energy that never lets up. 

The chorus is one that you’ll be humming to yourself relentlessly. And on top of the solid songwriting, the positive message in this song is another element that gives it that “instant classic” status. The rhythm section cruises, the energy uplifts you relentlessly, and J. Knight‘s signature vocal delivery will leave you nothing short of amazed with how well crafted this song really is.

We need more artists and bands willing to do more music like this. Where the production isn’t what makes the song…it’s the song that makes the production! Do yourself a favor, listen to this song now. Do your neighbors a favor, blast it really loud, and knock on all their doors and tell them to do the same.

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